OpenStage Theatre Welcomes Back BULLSHOT CRUMMOND, 1/5-2/2
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by BWW News Desk
Back in 1981, OpenStage Theatre first staged the uproarious Bullshot Crummond, a farce that apparently tickled Fort Collins funny bone so memorably audiences voted to bring it back for the company's 40th anniversary season.
The farce is a parody of 1930s low-budget detective movies, most memorably those featuring the British pulp hero Bulldog Drummond. The comedy ambitiously stages wild thrills and spills usually found only on the silver screen. Car smash ups, mountain cliffhangers, plane crashes and more are re-created in slap-dash manner with much hilarity ensuing.
"Much of the play's humor comes from its audacious (and intentionally failed) attempts to recreate film effects onstage, motivated by the grade-B detective films of that period," said OpenStage Director Candice Ingold. "It's silly, over-exaggerated series of unlikely and unfortunate events keeps the audience laughing and waiting for the next ridiculous and intentionally failed film effect played out on stage."
The plot concerns a pre-WWII scheme by the dastardly Count Otto Von Brunno and his femme-fatale cohort Lenya Von Brunno to destroy the world's diamond market by kidnapping Professor Rupert Fenton. On the side of might and right is Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond and damsel-in-distress Rosemary Fenton, the professor's daughter.
WWI flying ace Bullshot is a part-time sleuth, Olympic athlete, racing driver and all-round spiffing chap who is blithely unaware he is a blundering idiot.
"I am a strong believer that any physicality you can incorporate into a comedy is a big piece of why something becomes appealing to audiences," said Ingold. "I strive to make sure the physicality doesn't take over the text. It's so important to step back and be reminded that the true secret is to trust that the words in the script themselves are what brings out the laughter from deep down in the ol' belly."
Bullshot Crummond was originally conceived and performed as a stage play in 1979 by Ron House, Diz White, John Neville Andrews, Alan Shearman and Derek Cunningham, then later produced in 1983 as the film Bullshot. Much of the theatrical production's humor derives from the low production values. For example, the opening scene of a plane crash is depicted using the shadow of an airplane model dangled flying around the stage and two dolls on miniature parachutes floating down to the stage floor.
"We are referencing the original OpenStage Theatre set design from 1981 and revamping it somewhat for greater effect," said Ingold. "We are still incorporating very comical cartoon-like set pieces, such as the classic cut-out car and Otto Von Brunno's Converse Force Field contraption. The blocking is very comical, physical and stylized. I'm confident audiences are going to love this re-staging as much as our original production."
Bullshot Crummond features the acting talents of OpenStage artists Matthew Stalker, Justin Batson, Ailie Holland, Teal Jandrain and Will Ferrie. Both Jandrain and Ferrie are recipients of the OpenStage OPUS Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role.
Audiences are invited to meet the cast of Bullshot Crummond following every performance.
Bullshot Crummond, written by Ron House, Diz White, John Neville Andrews, Alan Shearman and Derek Cunningham, will play January 5 to February 2: Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.., Sundays at 2 p.m. on January 20 and 27, a pay-what-you-can show on January 10 at 7:30 p.m., and two free student shows on January 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. All performances take place at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theater, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins.
Founded in 1973, OpenStage Theatre is a recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Henry Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, and is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for not-for-profit professional theatres.